Adopting a dog is the start of a beautiful companionship. If you recently got a new pup, we commend you for taking on the responsibility required of new dog parents during these tumultuous times.
“During the pandemic, a lot of people have found that with all the time they’re spending at home, having another companion to be a coworker or help you get outside and go for walks or hiking is super helpful,” says Dr. Betsy Miller, DVM, MPH. “It’s serving your emotional well-being while also helping a dog to be rescued—it’s a win-win situation.”
This is a big, exciting transition for both you and your pet, and it will undoubtedly be an incredibly rewarding experience. Whether you adopted an energetic puppy or rescued a low-key older dog, navigating the early stages of pet parenthood can be a trying exercise. Right now is the perfect time for a fresh beginning—for both of you—and Ollie is here to help you kickstart your new life together.
Dealing with the unknowns
Your dog’s medical history and eating habits are likely a mystery and will stay that way forever, so you should anticipate an adjustment period as you do your best to fill in the blanks.
“Every dog comes from a different background, whether they were in a foster dog situation or in a previous home,” Miller says. “You won’t know how appropriately or inappropriately they were fed before they came into your life.” Although you don’t have the full picture—Was your dog fed daily table scraps? Undernourished as a puppy?—you can still improve his future by feeding him a healthy diet now.
Make up for any past malnutrition or common deficiencies by getting proactive with your food choices. Choose high-quality, complete foods, then gradually transition his meals to avoid digestion issues.
Pick the best food
Puppies need more calories and specific nutrients to support rapid growth. An older, overweight dog will have completely different requirements for his lower metabolism. “You want to make sure dogs are getting adequate nutrients to properly develop their muscles and internal organs,” Miller says, “and you should always feed them what’s appropriate for their growth stage.”
To figure out exactly what your dog needs, start by creating a profile on Ollie that will include his age, breed, weight, activity level, and any known allergies. Based on all of these factors, Ollie will create a customized meal plan with precise portion recommendations to support your dog’s stage of life and unique health requirements.
Instead of the overly processed dog foods crowding the shelves, Ollie’s recipes are filled with real, whole ingredients that you can actually recognize—a sign that you can feel good about what you’re feeding your new companion. Recipes include high-quality animal meats such as chicken, turkey, beef, and lamb, and they provide the protein and essential amino acids that are critical for repairing your dog’s muscles, forming new skin cells, building muscle tissues, creating hormones, and more. Real fruits and vegetables, like chickpeas, cranberries, kale, and sweet potatoes, provide essential vitamins and minerals.
Of course, you won’t know your dog’s taste preferences right off the bat, but that’s OK—Ollie allows you to try multiple protein options and recipes in your first starter box. Once you get a sense of your pup’s favorite flavors, you can combine and choose the most appealing options.
Set a feeding routine
It’s now up to you to break bad habits and develop new ones, which starts by creating a consistent eating schedule. Don’t let your dog decide when and how much he eats by leaving food out—also known as “free feeding”—as that could have negative physical implications that are difficult to eradicate. Instead, plot out a daily feeding routine that works with your schedule. It will be better for you, and dogs love a sense of security and predictability (especially if they’ve lacked that in the past).
A routine can also help you avoid over- or under-feeding your pup. If you overfeed your dog at too early of an age, warns Miller, it’s a lot more difficult to get the pounds off and keep them at a healthy lifelong weight.
“If younger dogs gain too much weight or if their bones grow too quickly—which is more of a problem for larger breeds like Great Danes or Bernese Mountain Dogs—it could have some bad orthopedic outcomes,” she says. If you underfeed, especially younger dogs, it can interfere with their physical and cognitive growth.
Get peace of mind
Rest assured that Ollie’s vet-formulated food offers the highest quality ingredients that even the most protective of dog parents would approve of. Mixed in small batches and slow-cooked at low temperatures, the customized recipes are designed to preserve all the nutrients your dog needs.
You’ve probably already realized that new dog ownership comes with its challenges, and the more turn-key solutions and routines you put in place, the better for your lifestyle (and the better for your pet.) Deliveries from Ollie come on a regulated cadence that you decide on, with plenty of flexibility baked in if you want to change recipes or delay an order.
If you ever have questions, we’re here for you. Our Canine Care team is full of pet parents who are ready to offer their expertise. We can also help set up your dog’s customized profile and get you started with a meal plan. The team is available by phone (844) 866-5543 or email (firstname.lastname@example.org) Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. EST.
Introduce us to your new pup and we’ll create a meal plan to give you both a fresh start.